Objective. To investigate the satisfaction with, and experiences of, patients receiving a GP out-of-hours (OOH) home visit from a GP cooperative.
Methods. A postal questionnaire study sent to all patients receiving a home visit from a single cooperative. The questionnaire asked patients a range of questions about their experiences of the home visiting service that they received and also contained a validated satisfaction measure.
Results. The OOH home visiting services largely provide care for an older population, most of whom consider that they are either too ill to travel or have limited mobility. The majority (43%) of home visits are made during the daytime at weekends, with just 25% of visits made during the night-time. If the home visit was not available, 67% of patients stated that they would have phoned for an ambulance or gone directly to hospital. The majority of patients (87%) were satisfied with the overall home visiting service that they received; however, 32% of patients were dissatisfied with the time it took for them to see a doctor or a nurse.
Conclusions. Although the OOH services have received considerable criticism over the past 5 years, this study reveals that patients remain largely satisfied with the service and would have called 999 or gone directly to hospital if there had been no service.